Heatwave heatwave stories

coakley93 26 year old writer, trying to suceed.
Autoplay OFF   •   4 months ago
Office worker Ella Newcombe is having the worst, and hottest, day of her life. Everything seems to be going wrong and Ella just wants the day to end; and it will - but not in the way she expected.


The oscillating fan wheezed uneasily as it whirred back and forth across the dimly lit bedroom, blowing the soft silk of the grey curtains back and forth. A creaking noise started to emanate from the motor of the fan, almost as if it was crying out to be laid to rest, after an entire weekend of being used constantly.

After the third or fourth creak there came an exasperated sigh from the person-shaped lump in the centre of the bed, and a pillow was thrown haphazardly across the room to land with a thump at the feet of the fan. "Will you please shut up!" Growled an angry voice, as the lump in the bed writhed dramatically around before sitting up to reveal a disheveled red-haired female.

The redhead was one Ella Newcombe, a twenty seven year old office worker living in the city of Parrish, England. Ella let out a sigh and swung her legs off the bed and over the side, roughly shoving her feet into a pair of very well-worn cream slippers. "It's no use, I'm never going to get to sleep with that racket going on and I've got to get up for work in an hour anyway." Ella muttered to herself as she

hit the off switch of the fan with the side of her hand and made her way out of her bedroom. Ella yawned sleepily as she clumped down the stairs, running her pale fingers through her unruly curls of hair. At the foot of the stairs Ella made an odd kissy noise with her mouth and called out; "Sheba! Are you back yet? Do you want breakfast?" Ella paused as if to listen for a reply,

and when there wasn't one, she shrugged and shuffled off into the kitchen. "Stupid cat. See if I care if you don't come out for food. I'll just keep wasting my hard earned money putting out food for you to not eat, don't mind me!" Ella scoffed sarcastically as she bent down to pick up a slightly dried out, but still full bowl of cat food from the floor, and dumped the contents out into

the kitchen bin. Sheba had been missing for a few days now, which wasn't unusual for her. She was a very independent cat. Pulling a fresh packet of 'Kitty Kibble' down from the top of the fridge, Ella refilled the bowl, replaced it and lent back against the kitchen counter, her threadbare, greying nightie barely giving her any kind of modesty. Ella couldn't remember a time in her twenty-seven years of

life when it had been as hot as it had for the past few days. Over the weekend Ella had not left her one bed house for fear of bursting into flames it was that warm. English folk didn't do well with hot weather, and with temperatures high enough to melt the tarmac on the roads, Ella had barricaded herself in her room, room-fan on high, clothing down to a minimum and copious amounts of iced beverages. It hadn't helped. Ella

had barely had an hours sleep over the past three nights. Ella absentmindedly turned on the small TV she kept in the kitchen and changed the channel to the News. A weatherman was standing in front of a map of England looking very hot and bothered, as he confirmed that the unexplained heatwave they had been experiencing was due to continue for another few days. Ella groaned and turned the TV off, that wasn't the

information she was hoping to hear. After dressing herself in weather and job appropriate office wear, Ella donned some sunglasses and a cap to keep the sun out of her eyes, and headed off towards the tube station.

As Ella rounded the corner of the street, she groaned at the sight of a large queue leading out of the barriers of the tube station and up the side of the road. Joining onto the end of the queue, Ella craned her neck to see if she could work out why the tube station was so busy at 6am on a Monday morning. The man in front of her noticed her attempt and unfolded one arm from his chest, motioning

towards the front of the queue with his thumb. "Wondering what the deal is with the hold-up right?" The man asked her, as he flashed her a sleepy grin. Ella nodded, fanning herself with her purse as she did so. "Some old bloke keeled over whilst going through the barriers. Just full on snuffed it as he was swiping his travel card. Guess it must be this heat. He was wearing about six

layers of clothes according to the paramedic I overheard." The man explained as he stifled a yawn with the back of his hand. Ella grimaced and stopped trying to look over the man's shoulder to the front of the line. "That's awful. Poor man. I can't believe how hot it has been lately." The man nodded in reply and turned back to face the front of the queue. It appeared as though

the line of people were finally moving forwards, giving Ella enough momentum to catch a glimpse of a group of people in paramedic uniforms helping to load a black body bag and a gurney into the back of an ambulance that had just arrived. Ella looked away, a sick feeling pooling in her stomach. 'What an awful way to go' Ella thought; as the queue receded down into the depths of the

station. Once on the tube, Ella noticed something unusual. This tube was the same one Ella had used to get to work every single day for the past three years, and never had she seen so many paramedics and police officers in the tube carriages. They were all wearing minimal uniform and were pulling large crates on wheels behind them, filled with bottles of icy water. The reason for these bottles

became apparent as Ella witnessed no less than six passengers collapse in the seats around her. The uniformed medics and officers acted quickly, trying to cool down the affect people and removing unnecessary items of clothing. Ella didn't get to see if any of the passengers recovered, as her tube stop came up just as the sixth person collapsed, and Ella was forced to leave the carriage to make her way to

work. Once in the office, Ella wasted no time recounting her morning to her co-workers, all of whom had elected to come in early, before the sun was at its highest peak. "You think that's crazy?" Tony from accounting mused once Ella had finished her tale. "One of the houses on my road caught fire in the early hours of this morning. Apparently the art-deco glasswork on the front

door magnified the rays of the Sun to the point where the wooden floorboards in the hall caught alight. Must've been terrifying for the owners. I don't think they had a back door to escape through." Ella's eyes widened in disbelief. "Did they manage to escape the fire?" Tony shook his head. "Not that I saw. Mind you, the firefighters were still tackling the blaze as I left for work, so I

suppose it is possible." Ella furrowed her brow as she spun round in her chair to face her work desk and turned her computer on. As the desktop flashed into life, Ella picked up the partially frozen water bottle that Tony had placed on her desk, and held it against her forehead, closing her eyes as the coolness from the water sank into her skull. The start up noise from the

computer jolted Ella out of her meditative state and she began to load up the files she would be working on for the day. As she typed Ella became aware of a faint buzzing noise coming from the window. She ignored it at first, but Ella was a woman who found herself rather intolerable to incessant noises, and could not cope with irritating sounds for long. Turning to face the window, Ella's cool blue eyes searched

frantically for the source of the buzzing. Her efforts were fruitless; she could not distinguish anything within eyesight of the window that could be making such a noise. She returned, despondent, back to her computer and began to type up notes for the file she was currently reviewing. Within a few seconds, the buzzing noise stopped as abruptly as it had begun, and Ella continued working, a

triumphant smile playing across her lips. Midway through the morning, Sienna, the resident coffee maker was doing her rounds through the office, dropping off mugs of coffee and plates of breakfast foods here and there as she went. As she reached Ella's desk, Sienna smiled warmly at her colleague and placed a large glass of iced coffee in front of Ella, condensation dripping

down the glass on the desk as Ella placed one hand on her chest above her heart and sighed dramatically. "Sienna, have I ever told you how much I love you?" Ella gushed jokingly, as she leaned forward to take a sip of the delicious beverage. "Almost daily, but I don't tire of it." Sienna laughed, turning back to her refreshment trolley and picking up a paper plate. "Do you want a chocolate

pastry or a plain one?" Sienna asked as Ella examined the food spread with interest. If there was one thing Sienna did well in the office, it was breakfast. In her role as Head of Human Resources, it wasn't her job to provide sustenance to her co-workers, but she did it anyway because, as she often stated to the office, a well-fed team is a productive team. Ella wrinkled her nose up in concentration and tapped her

chin as though she was thinking. "Plain. No, chocolate. Definitely chocolate. Also, you know they are actually called pain au choc and croissants, right?" Ella smirked as Sienna placed the chosen food on the paper plate and handed it to Ella. Sienna shrugged, "It's all Greek to me." "No, Sienna, it's French." Ella laughed, breaking off a piece of pain au choc and popping it into

her mouth. "Either way. I would offer you some fruit to balance out your breakfast, but they didn't have any at the market this morning. Something about damage to the crops or some nonsense. Not that you ever take the fruit option anyway." Ella pouted, pretending to be insulted. "I've eaten a fruit before." Sienna raised one immaculately sculpted eyebrow at her friend.

"When?" Ella let out her most dramatic sigh of the morning and turned back to her computer. "I don't know. My mother probably fed me some kind of pureed berry as a child." Sienna cackled in response as she wheeled her trolley off to the bank of desks behind Ella. Over the next hour, Ella had drained every last drop from the iced coffee and bottle of

water, but she still felt thirsty. Ambling from her desk, Ella went into the office kitchen and refilled her water bottle, glancing absently about the area as she did so. The office kitchen was very small; comprised only of a tiny sink, half sized fridge and a shabby little cabinet with a tired looking microwave perched on top. The kitchen was the only place in the building where the

window overlooked the park in the centre of the city. Ella enjoyed the view from the window, as people-watching was one of her favourite past times, and there was usually an abundance of people frolicking in the park; but not today. The grass in the park was brown and patchy; Ella could see trails of dirt where people had walked by, dragging up parched blades of grass as they went. The trees surrounding the park fence were all leaning

downwards, as though wilted, which Ella didn't think was possible, as most of the trees in the park were older than she was. But mature trees couldn't wilt, Ella mused as she turned off the water faucet and replaced the cap on her bottle. There were no signs of life in the rest of the park. No dogs running around the barren flower beds, no children playing on the swings. There weren't even any teenagers hanging

around the skate ramp, drinking cheap cider as they usually did. Ella found herself thinking this was most odd, as she couldn't ever remember a time when the park had been empty like this, but then she supposed that they were experiencing unusually hot weather in England, so maybe everyone who wasn't working had stayed home in the shade. With a sigh of longing for the cool darkness of her bedroom,

Ella cast one last brief look at the park and headed back to her desk. Three brain-numbing hours later, Ella's colleague Matthew announced that he was going to 'pop to the shops' and did anyone want anything? Ella mumbled an order of 'whatever is cold and isn't a salad', handed Matthew a five pound note and returned to her work.

After half an hour of Ella's stomach wailing to be fed every few minutes, Matthew arrived back at the office. Ella looked up from her desk excitedly, but her expression soon fell. Normally, Matthew's skin was the colour of warm mahogany but at this moment in time, he was a rather alarming shade of puce. As Matthew stumbled into the nearest chair, Ella leapt up from her desk and started towards him.

"Ma-Matthew, are you okay?" Ella asked as she reached him, putting one hand out to gently touch his shoulder. Ella pulled her hand back like she had been electrocuted as Matthew let out a guttural cry. His shoulder was white hot to the touch and Ella could see patches of faint pink on his shirt where her hand had been. "Matthew, what happened?" Tony had come up behind Ella and was handing Matthew a

bottle of water. Matthew took the bottle in one shaky hand and hastily gulped half the water down in one. "I-I don't feel so good." Matthew stuttered as his lids dropped as though they were too heavy to hold up. "Is there anything we can do to help? Do you need to go home?" Ella asked kindly as she crouched down beside him. Matthew's gaze flicked over to Ella, but it was as though he

couldn't focus on her. "I th-think I might b-be sick." Matthew groaned as he slumped down lower in his chair. Tony disappeared to the kitchen and came back moments later with a large mixing bowl. "I have no idea why we have this but it'll do as a sick bowl for now." Tony said, carefully placing the bowl beside Matthew's head, which had

now dipped to desk level. "I'll call you a taxi." Ella told Matthew as she rose to her feet and reached out to pat Matthew's back. Hesitating, she thought better of it and hurried back to her desk. Calling the number of the local taxi company she struggled to get through. "The line is busy." She mouthed to Tony who was now standing by Matthew, holding the makeshift sick bowl in place as

Matthew vomited profusely into it. "I don't mean to be dramatic here but I think it might be better to call for an ambulance." Tony told her, whimpering slightly as Matthew's eyes rolled back in his head so far his irises couldn't be seen. "I think I could probably walk home." Matthew slurred, leaning forwards in his chair as though he was going to stand up, then thought better of it

and slumped back over the desk, narrowly missing the bowl of sick as he did so. Ella was only briefly aware that she was listening to the taxi firm's automated message of 'please hold, your call is important to us' for the 45th time before hanging up and dialling 999. When this number too gave her a busy tone she looked up at Tony exasperated. "Ambulance service is busy too.

What on earth is going on?" Ella exclaimed as she placed the handset down. Tony shook his head, a pained expression on his face. "No idea, but I'd wager it's nothing good." Running a hand through his balding grey hair, Tony let out a sigh before striding over to his own desk and picking up his car keys. "I'm parked fairly close to the office today; I'll drop Matthew home, make sure he's got

someone to look after him and then I'll come straight back." As Tony walked back towards Matthew's barely conscious form, he motioned to Stephen, the administrator, who pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose (a nervous habit,) and hurried over to Matthew's other side. Together, both men managed to get their arms around Matthew's upper body before gingerly lifting him off the chair

to a standing position. Everyone in the office froze as Matthew cried out suddenly, a horrific tearing noise ringing out as Matthew's legs left the chair. "Oh Christ, I'm sorry Matthew, I-" All the blood had drained from Tony's face as he and Stephen slowly lowered Matthew back onto the chair. "Take the chair with you. It's on wheels, you can put it in the lift." Ella heard herself saying, her

mouth suddenly very dry. "Of course, St-Stephen. Help me get him to my car." Tony stammered as Stephen nodded curtly. The two of them worked together to move Matthew and the chair out of the office doors and down the corridor to the lift bay. The room was deathly silent as the double doors at the end of the office came to a stop. Finally Sienna spoke up from her desk at the back of the

room. "Ella, that tearing noise. What was it? What was wrong with Matthew?" Ella could feel bile rising up in her throat as she struggled to form the words to reply. "That was his skin, Sienna. Matthew's skin was stuck to the fabric of the chair. Through his clothes." Sienna gasped in horror as Ella shakily took a sip of water from her bottle.

Ella's stomach gave a half-hearted rumble, her long forgotten lunch lay strewn across the floor where Matthew had dropped it under his desk in his haste to sit down. Ella very much doubted that anyone was in the mood for lunch anymore. Unsure of what to do after the events that had just unfolded, Ella returned to her work and continued to write up notes.

She wasn't sure of what help she could be to Matthew now and she needed to try and take her mind off of that awful tearing sound. In the quiet of the now-solemn office, Ella was suddenly acutely aware that the buzzing noise had returned, but it was a lot louder, and much more desperate. Turning her gaze to the window by her desk, Ella let out a little shriek of fear.

Outside the window were hundreds of insects; bees, flies, wasps, butterflies, winged ants, all pushing themselves up against the glass, as though they were clamouring to get inside. Having heard Ella's shriek, Sienna came bustling over to the window, her mouth open as though she was about to ask what was wrong. And then she saw the insects. "I have never in all my life seen

bugs act this way." Ella whispered, leaning backwards away from the window, as though she thought that the flying creatures might actually manage to break their way inside. "Me neither." Sienna's voice came out as a croak. "What do you suppose they are trying to get to in here?" Ella looked at her worriedly. "Or get away from."

The next few hours were the longest of Ella's life. With each passing minute the office seemed to get hotter and hotter, until it was at the point where Ella's boss appeared from upstairs, hair and shirt plastered to his body with sweat, and told them all to head home, as he was beginning to fear for the modesty of the staff as more and more layers of clothing were discarded in the dim hope of feeling cooler.

It was only as Ella was packing up her desk for the day that she realised that Tony and Stephen had not returned. "I'm sure they're okay." Sienna assured Ella as she voiced her concerns. "Tony probably dropped Stephen off home too and headed in a similar direction himself. I don't think I would've bothered coming back here in this heat." Ella nodded, trying her hardest to ignore the sick feeling that

was creeping up on her once more. Outside the office, the street was empty, save for the employees leaving Ella's place of work. Cars had been abandoned at odd intervals along the street, the tires melted into a puddle of rubber and tarmac beneath the vehicles. As Ella walked, she could feel the soles of her shoes sticking to the pavement, a faint outline

of her foot being left behind with every step. Her blouse was stuck to her back with sweat and she could feel the metal clasp of her bra burning into her skin. As Ella ducked under the awning of a nearby shop to get out of the sun, she glanced down at a number of odd black dots scattered around the edges of the street. Bending down, Ella realised on closer inspection what they

were. Hundreds of insects, all dead on the ground, their little legs stuck up in odd positions, as though they had been desperately crawling as they perished. Slightly disturbed, Ella turned herself away from the sight and glanced up the road. It was only a short walk to the tube station but Ella could see that there was no shade on the side of the road she would have to walk on to get there.

Steeling herself with a deep breath, Ella hurtled herself out into the sun, breaking into a run as she felt the cruel lash of the sun's rays upon her bare arms and legs. Upon reaching the tube station, Ella raced into the cool darkness of the marble encased building, resting her burning back against the wall as she caught her breath. It was only then that Ella realised, in stark contrast to her

early morning journey on the tube, the station was now completely empty. There wasn't even anyone guarding the ticket barriers as there usually would be. As Ella made her way down the escalators onto the tube platform, she crossed her fingers that the tubes would still be running in this heat. After a moment or two, Ella's heart gave a little flurried beat of delight as she heard the

familiar rumbling of the tube hurtling along the tracks. As the tube came to a stop, Ella could see that there were very few passengers in the carriages, and those that were looked rather worse for wear. Ella stepped into the closest carriage and sat down in an empty row of seats. There were only two other people in this carriage and Ella glanced up at them as the tube doors slid shut.

The first passenger was a man who looked to be in his late fifties. He was wearing a pair of cream shorts and a white vest top, both of which were liberally streaked with sweat. He had a handkerchief that he using to wipe his very red, sodden brow. Ella wasn't sure which was wetter, the handkerchief or his hair. The skin visible on his arms and legs was an angry red and was peeling slightly, as though he

had a very bad sunburn. The second passenger was an elderly woman, Ella thought possibly in her eighties, with white wispy hair poking out from underneath her floral headscarf. She appeared to be asleep, her long white lashes splayed out against her powdery cheeks. The elderly lady had a long, high-necked yellow dress on, with a pale green cardigan covering her arms.

The lady had her ankles delicately crossed and Ella could see patches of what looked like dirt all along her calves. As the tube came to a juddering stop at the station by Ella's house, Ella stood up and pressed the button to open the door. As she stepped off the tube, something made her turn to look at the elderly lady more closely, as the doors slid closed

again. Ella could still make out the lady quite clearly through the glass. The juddering stop of the tube had caused the lady to slump forwards in her seat, her knees almost touching the ground. As the tube picked up speed again, the lady fell violently forward, the skirt of her dress whipping upwards as she crumpled and Ella suddenly twigged what the marks on the lady's legs were.

A gasp rose in Ella's throat as she realised with horror that the 'dirt' was in fact the lady's tights, which had become welded to her legs and had now torn viciously as the lady's legs took the weight of her fall. As the tube turned the corner Ella saw the last glimpse of the lady as the other passenger stood over her looking horror stricken, blood pooling at his feet.

Mortified, Ella turned to see if there was anyone else around who would've seen the lady, but Ella was alone on the platform. Hurrying up the stairs towards the street Ella hoped that she might find a ticket attendant or a station cleaner, anyone she could report the lady's injuries to; but there was no one.

Stepping out into the blinding heat, Ella rushed round the corner, taking very little notice of her surroundings as she jogged towards her house; her legs failing to keep up a fast pace. As Ella made it to the front steps of her house, she reached out a hand, unthinkingly, and clasped the metal handrail. A searing white hot pain shot through her hand, forcing a

stifled gasp of pain as Ella wrenched her hand free, the scalding metal of the rail claiming the skin of her hand as its own. Tears swam in Ella's eyes as she fumbled her way up the steps, taking care now not to touch the rail along the way. Ella reached her good hand inside her bag and fumbled for her keys. Hand shaking, she struggled

against the lock, finally managing to press the key home and open the door with the tip of her clothing clad elbow. Inside her house the air was thick with heat, making it hard for Ella to take deep breaths. Slamming the door shut with her foot, Ella stumbled into the kitchen where she ran reached to turn the tap on with her hand, stopping only when she felt the heat of the metal

radiating onto her good hand. Ella supposed the water pipes outside must've been heated in the sun too. Letting out a cry of frustration, Ella pulled turned and pulled open the fridge door instead. Stooping to grab a bottle of water from the bottom shelf, Ella worked the lid loose with her teeth and then emptied most of the liquid onto her hand, over the kitchen sink.

The cool water stung Ella's hand as she gingerly examined the damage. Ella was no medical expert, but she figured that she had burnt off at least the first two layers of skin, maybe as deep as the third. Angry red blisters were beginning to appear over the surface of the wound and Ella could see them filling up with fluid before her eyes.

As Ella leaned back against her kitchen counter, she tilted her head back, closed her eyes and led out a scream of frustration. So much had gone wrong today and Ella wasn't sure how much more she could take. Getting a fresh bottle of water out of the fridge with her good hand, Ella started towards the stairs, noticing on her way that Sheba's food bowl was once again untouched.

Upstairs in her bedroom, curtains closed fully against the persistent sun, Ella put her room fan on the highest power setting and turned on her bedroom TV with the remote. Flicking through the channels, Ella was confused to see that every single one had the news on, with no other programming scheduled for the rest of the day. Settling on one particular channel, Ella leaned back against her pillows to watch the

current news story. A grim-faced news anchor was staring stonily into the camera lense, his gruff voice shaking a little as he read from his notes. "-if you are a regular watcher of this news station, you will be aware of the reports of household pets going missing over the weekend. In an extremely strange and unexplained turn of events,

the whereabouts of these pets has become apparent, as the bodies of hundreds of beloved pets have washed up on the shore of the river Pettigrew. In the footage we are about to show you, we have taken the liberty of blurring out the bodies, but those of a sensitive disposition should take care if you decide to continue watching this channel." The image on screen then changed

from the live stream of the news anchor in the studio to a recording of the river taken from a helicopter hovering above the water. Although the footage had been blurred substantially, Ella could still make out the sickening mass of reddish brown body shaped lumps, rising and falling in the waves created by the helicopter's blades. A man inside the helicopter was

explaining who had made the discovery and what measures were being put in place to recover the bodies and dispose of them. Ella was barely listening, rendered stiff by the horror of what she was seeing. "-that we know that these are household pets is due to the amount of animals in the river with collars. It does appear to be mostly dogs and cats, but I can see other types of domestic mammal in the water." The

news anchor was saying. "We've seen people come down to the river bank to see if they can locate their pets but the water is so hot from the sun, it is difficult to get close enough to the animals to distinguish their features, let alone pull them out of the river. As to how the animals came to be there, a few locals are swearing that they saw the pets run into the river themselves,

though no one can be sure why." Ella clicked a button on the remote to change the channel, feeling sick to her stomach at the information she had just heard. Ella closed her eyes and pulled her pillow up to her chest, holding it tightly. Although she tried her hardest to not let the bad thoughts in, she couldn't help but imagine Sheba, her little Sheba, floating

around in that river somewhere. The news anchor had said that he didn't know why the animals might have walked into the river of their own accord, but Ella had an inkling of why. If she had been forced to wear a fur coat in this heat then she definitely would have found the nearest body of water and climbed in too. Ella figured that the pets would have realised

too late that the water was boiling slowly around them. Ella felt a wave of nausea rise up inside her, and promptly leaned over to vomit into her wastepaper bin. As Ella raised her head up and slumped weakly against the headboard of her bed, she fumbled with the buttons of her blouse, pulling it off with one hand and throwing it across the room.

Next she unzipped the side of her skirt and wriggled it down over her knees, kicking the material off with her foot before spreading her limbs out across the bedspread, desperate to cool herself down further. Leaning up on her side to continue watching the news, Ella glanced down at her sore hand. It was then that she noticed the red welts that were beginning to appear on the patches of skin that had not

been covered by her clothes. Ella's forearms, wrists and hands were a violent shade of red, and getting darker by the second. From the bottom of her knees to the front of her foot where her shoes had covered her toes, Ella's skin was scarlet and was beginning to crack and peel like barren dirt in the desert. Ella was fully aware of how hot it was, but she never fathomed

that the suns rays could have damaged her skin quite so quickly. Ella had a sudden understanding of where Matthew's injuries had come from earlier in the day; he had been out in the market when the sun would have been at its highest, scorching his flesh and boiling his brain through his skull. Ella determined that he must've been suffering from

heatstroke, that anyone who had ventured outside today would be suffering from heatstroke. Shaking with disbelief, Ella's eyes fixed on the TV screen as a shot of a supermarket with entirely bare shelves came into focus. "Earlier today the shelves of this supermarket were completely cleared by frantic shoppers who believe the cause

of this heat is that judgement day is upon us and the world is at an end. Although we cannot comment on the validity of these theories, one thing is for sure; sourcing food is going to be a challenge for anyone who has not stocked up on non-perishable items, as it has been confirmed to us that all fresh fruit and vegetables have spoiled in the heat, and the remaining crops in the field have been damaged by the sun,

rendering any produce useless for human consumption." The footage cut back to the female news anchor in the studio, who was looking very hot and bothered under the studio lights, her makeup melting down her face in two dark streaks. "Thank you, Stanley. It has also been confirmed to us that beekeepers in the region have reported their swarms as

missing; something that I'm sure is not helped by the absence of flowers and fauna in this region. We advise all of our viewers to stay inside, keep all curtains drawn and try your best to stay cool. Do not try and venture out to the houses of family or friends as reports of people suffering from sun-related illnesses and injuries have skyrocketed over the weekend." Ella sat up

uncomfortably in her bed and reached for her water bottle. It was only as the water touched her lips that Ella realised that it had become heated whilst sat on her nightstand. Re-capping the bottle and groaning as she slowly got off her bed, Ella made her way back down the stairs towards the kitchen. There was an odd smell of burning plastic drifting through

the house, the source of which was only apparent once Ella entered the kitchen, seeing that her kitchen blind, which had been lowered fully over the window, had caught fire and was now sending clouds of acrid smoke up to the ceiling. Ella moved quickly to the side of the blind, being careful not to step in the pool of light that was now seeping through the material and onto the kitchen tiles.

Throwing the now open bottle of warm water towards the blind, Ella managed to extinguish the flames. As the pool of light was now casting a fiery glow across the kitchen floor and onto the lower part of the fridge, Ella was unable to retrieve another bottle of water. Letting out a wail of despair at her situation, Ella resigned herself to going back upstairs

to continue watching the news; with the hope that nightfall would come swiftly and she would be able to work out what to do next. Picking up the phone on her nightstand, Ella tried to dial out to her parents. The phone line appeared to be dead. There wasn't even an error note to note the lack of connection, it was just completely dead. Pulling her mobile phone out

from her work bag, Ella cried out in frustration when she saw that her phone network had no signal, nor was her wifi connected. There was no one she could make contact with. She was completely alone. As Ella glanced up at the clock on her bedroom wall, she was confused to see that it was almost nine o'clock. Although it

was currently Summer in England, the sun would usually be beginning to set round about now, but Ella could still see it blazing away around the edges of her curtains. The room was getting hotter. The TV signal was beginning to wane. Ella gave the top of her TV a good, hard whack, to no avail. She changed channels to find much the same issue on all of the other news programs.

Whilst channel hopping she managed to find one signal that wasn't quite as weak as the others, though the picture was still rather fuzzy. "We have- had news from- owning Street- Pri- Minister has been- ken ill with heat-" Ella could barely make out the news anchors words. "Hospitals are- full. Hundreds of deaths- people are- unaccounted for. Powergrids up and dow- country have been- utting down. Heat is

still rising- no way to stop- reports that the young and ol- suffering the most- farmers have said their catt- and pigs have begun to- ie of heatstroke." Suddenly the picture on Ella's TV became crystal clear, and the news anchors frightened face filled the screen. "Food is running out, whole rivers have begun to dry up. Scientists predict the ozone layer will not hold back the full

heat of the sun for much longer. Ladies and gentleman, this appears to be the end." Ella's mouth gaped open in disbelief of what she had just heard. She caught one last glimpse of the news anchor's terrified grimace before the signal cut out completely. As the air around Ella began to feel thick with heat, and the material of her curtains began to smoke, there was an almighty smashing sound as the

glass from the windows finally buckled under the intense heat of the sun. Gasping for breath, Ella could feel the very boil within her veins grow uncomfortably hot. "What happens now?" Ella choked out into the smokey silence of her room.

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